The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) has urged governments and its programme implementing partners to accelerate action toward achieving the goals of the Nairobi International Conference on Population and Development 25 (ICPD25) held in 2019.
The Country Representative of the Fund in Nigeria, Ms. Ulla Mueller, made the call during a Webinar to mark the first anniversary of the ICPD25 on Thursday.
She recalled that on November 12, 2019, thousands of stakeholders met in Nairobi, Kenya, for the International Conference on Population and Development 25 (ICPD25) and pledged to implement programmes that would reduce Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and Harmful Traditional Practices (HTPs) around the globe.
She said that during the ICPD25 summit in Nairobi in 2019, co-convened by the governments of Denmark, Kenya and UNFPA, stakeholders accelerated the promise to recommit to an extraordinary vision of programme of action set forth at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994.
She explained that the 1994 Cairo vision was aimed at full equality for women and girls, as well as sexual and reproductive health rights for all.
Mueller, therefore, said that there were 12 global commitments entitled “Transformational Goals”, which included ending preventable maternal deaths, ending unmet needs for Family Planning (FP) and ending GBV and HTPs.
She said that Nigeria, which was part of the conference, pledged to achieve zero preventable maternal deaths by 2030, using the Midwives Services Scheme (MSS).
She added that “Nigeria pledged to facilitate the provision of skilled birth attendants to reduce maternal, newborn and child mortality in rural areas.
“The Nigerian Government also pledged zero GBV and HTPs against women, girls and youths, using the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAAP) to protect persons against all forms of violence.”
The Country Representative, who reiterated the need for accelerated action in achieving the commitments, said “today is about focusing on the commitments made by Nigeria and taking stock of where we are in the achievement of the commitments we made.
“Meeting our commitments by 2030 will require an affirmative response to catalyse change and larger pools of investment to cater for the increasing pace of change we are witnessing globally and domestically.
“We have come a long way since the commitment, but with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic globally, our best made plans had given way to rescheduling and adjustments to ensure that our beneficiaries remain at the heart of our response.”
She, however, noted that in spite of the disruptions caused by the pandemic, which threatened to reverse the successes recorded in maternal health, “we would continue the march toward achieving the transformative goals.
“The goals are critical to development. It is a decade of action. Let’s ensure that survivors are catered for. Let us do it for our daughters, our sisters, our mothers, our wives and aunts.”
The UNFPA Nigeria country representative also urged all to stay safe and observe the COVID-19 protocols.
The Minister of State for Health, Sen. Olorunimbe Mamora, who presented the goodwill message of the Minister of Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, reiterated the commitments of the Federal Government toward the transformative goals.
The minister, who commended the UNFPA and other partners for working in harmony with the Federal Government, said that Nigeria was committed to improving the maternal and reproductive health rights of women and girls toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030.
He said “we are doing our best in postnatal care, treatment of under-five children and implementation of the road map to achieving zero maternal health needs, as well as zero GBV.”
He acknowledged the fact that the country’s health system witnessed a setback as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and assured government’s commitment to family planning services and commodities.
He said “we remain resolute and committed to the Nairobi commitment. We are committed to achieving Universal Health Care, leaving no one behind.”
Also at the virtual anniversary of the Nairobi ICPD25 were the Chairman, National Population Commission (NPC), Alhaji Nasir Kwarra, its Director-General, Dr. Ghaji Bello, the Emir of Shonga, Alhaji Haliru Yahaya, the Ambassador of Denmark, Mr. Jesper Kamp, among others.